May 5, 2017
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M&S names Archie Norman its new chairman

May 5, 2017

Just days after naming an exec from the car and bike accessories sector as the new head of its general merchandise unit, Marks and Spencer Group had  equally big news on Friday.

Archie Norman will be chairman of the giant M&S operation at a challenging time

The company said that experienced retail executive and former Conservative MP Archie Norman would take over as non-executive chairman in September. He will succeed Robert Swannell who is standing down after seven years in the role.

Earlier this week, the company had named Jill McDonald, currently CEO of car and bike accessories retailer Halfords, to a newly-expanded role in full control of clothing beauty and home and also increased product specialist Jo Jenkins’ remit to take in all clothing and beauty.

The company’s shares fell after the announcement as many questioned McDonald’s lack of experience in any of the product categories M&S covers. But they rose again on Friday morning after news of Norman’s appointment was released and at the time of writing, were up almost 7%.

The markets appear to approve of Norman’s appointment and that’s no surprsie. He brings has a huge a breadth of experience to the role with an extensive track record in retail and brands. Most importantly, he was the leader who turned Asda from a near-bankrupt supermarket chain in the early 1990s to a dynamic growth retailer with a major share of the UK clothing and accessories market.

He has also led businesses including Kingfisher, Energis, ITV, Lazard London and Hobbycraft.

Norman said has was looking forward to role but conceded that there are “considerable challenges ahead in a rapidly changing retail landscape."

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